The Iowa Composers Forum held their new music winter festival and their 16th Annual Student Composers Competition at Luther College this past weekend, bringing in composers and performers from all over the Midwest to showcase some truly fantastic music.
There were 6 recitals over the course of the weekend: 3 for chamber ensembles, 1 for experimental music, 1 featuring organ music, and 1 with music written for children. Unfortunately I missed the experimental and organ recitals, but the other 4 were nothing short of amazing.
Saturday morning began with the recital of music for children at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah. On the program were many short, cute pieces aimed at getting children active and involved in the music. A few highlights from that recital included music by Elaine Erickson, Philip Wharton, and 10-year-old ( ! ) Tess Spesia. Each piece on the program was delightful in its own way and they were quite successful in getting the kids excited and involved.
The day went on with 3 more recitals of chamber music at Luther College, featuring many great works by preeminent composers such as Timothy Kramer, Jerry Owen, Ralph Kendrick, Warren Gooch, David Maki, Jeffrey Prater, Michael Eckert, Aaron Perrine, my former teacher Brooke Joyce, as well as fellow Luther grads Zach Zubow, Jeff Weston, Joe Carey, and other Luther friends.
While completely immersing myself in all this new music, I had completely forgotten about something: my own Trio for flute, oboe, and clarinet was also on the program! I had been informed late in 2011 that I was a finalist in the composers competition, and that my trio would be performed at the festival. During the late afternoon recital, a special presentation was held for the finalists in each category: 5th grade and younger, 6th-8th grade, 9th-12th grade, and undergraduate college level. During the presentation, it was announced that my piece had won First Prize in the college division! Woo hoo! My first composition competition prize! It was pretty darn exciting.
After Sympathetic Vibrations (the gals who premiered my trio last year) played the living daylights out of it again (they are so GOOD), everyone went out for drinks at Rubaiyat in downtown Decorah.
While there I met Zach Zubow and Aaron Perrine, two young and upcoming composers working on their doctorate degrees at the University of Iowa, and we talked shop with my former trumpet teacher Richard Tirk while drinking some really good brews. All in all, a fantastic day. Came home with full ears, new friends, a prize in hand, and a new level of musical excitement.
I will post the new recording of the trio as soon as I receive it!
Next gig, the premiere of my trumpet & piano piece for Dr. Tirk in March. Stay tuned!